KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) Grants from the Rotary Club of Kinston and Rotary International District 7730 will help Lenoir County Public Schools connect students to the internet during a time when remote learning is part of every school day.

“The Rotary Club of Kinston is again responding to the needs of students in the Covid-19 pandemic,” club president Bob Griffin said. “As student instruction shifted to virtual learning, it became apparent that there were significant numbers of students without broadband internet access, either because of unavailability where they live or unaffordability despite access.”

The grants, totaling $4,921, will go for the purchase of hotspots, devices that will link students’ iPads to cell tower signals to provide broadband capability. Included with the purchase of devices are data plans, eliminating any cost to users.

The club’s grant of $2,908, announced in June, will allow Lenoir County Public Schools to acquire five hotspots and accompanying data plans to assist up to 75 at-risk students who would not otherwise be able to connect to the internet and do their schoolwork.

As many as 15 devices can log on to each hotspot under optimum conditions.

The Rotary Club of Kinston is Lenoir County’s oldest and largest civic club, now with 124 members. As part of its 100th anniversary celebration, the club awarded grants of $500 each to a dozen local agencies and institutions.

According to a survey of LCPS families, about 800 students were without reliable internet service in late September, when school district gave them the option of returning to school on a staggered schedule or continuing with fully remote learning. Both instructional models require students to connect to school work virtually.